For the better part of two years, people and businesses have had to adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each country identified guidelines and regulations for how to deal with the pandemic and many of us found ourselves answering emails from our living room, working alternating shifts or in a limited capacity shortly after lockdown began. Those weeks turned to months as people all around the world had to find new ways to go about daily life in the COVID environment. A region of the world that was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was Asia. Just like everywhere else in the world, the countries of Asia had to deal with the challenges that come with a pandemic. Thermoforming companies in Asia had to adjust to the ever-changing needs of customers as the market shifted.

In China, the most populated country in the world, Thermoformers saw increased demand for food take-out containers during the pandemic. The necessity for these containers has been steadily growing over the last several years as the younger generation becomes more accustomed to ordering food instead of cooking at home and people in cities too busy with work; but with millions of people in cities working from home, the demand for these containers has increased. We have seen several container toolmakers switch from HYTAC-W to HYTAC-B1X due to the increased quantity of parts they have to make. After going into lockdown for several months, China’s restaurants and businesses began re-opening and are now operating at normal capacity; but many people still choose to order food for the convenience and time saving advantages. We have seen this trend here in the United States as well, where companies like DoorDash, GrubHub and Uber Eats have made it incredibly easy to have food delivered while still allowing people to socially distance.

There has been an increase in sealed food containers in Japan and South Korea as well. Both countries have seen demand for transparent food packaging for both store-bought food and take-home containers at restaurants. One of our customers has begun using C1R to provide scratch free cups and containers that offer solid structural integrity and unblemished clarity. As both Japan and South Korea begin slowly re-opening their doors for foreign visitors, we expect the demand for these products to continue to increase.

The need for flash sealed medical containers has also drastically increased over the past two years. A number of thermoformers in Asia report being asked to produce medical component packaging, something many countries have seen increased demand for. The challenge that many Asia tool makers face isn’t the design of the part, but the quantity. With many cities in Asia containing millions of people, some thermoformers are struggling to keep up with demand. CMT has seen several customers upgrading from HYTAC W and WF to a more durable material such as B1X or XTL. The less time a tool maker must spend replacing a broken plug, the better off their production cycle can be.  The ease of machining and excellent surface quality of these materials helps customers utilize less plastic to get the desired quantity of parts as well improving the overall quality.

We’ve all been challenged to adjust our processes and way that we conduct business due to this pandemic. For the Asian market, the past two years have accelerated certain existing trends and identified new ones. As we all work towards a future after COVID-19, CMT Materials looks to assist our customers with facing any challenge that may present itself and help identify any way in which our material can make the most of your next project.